Through the bulk of my life my dad has worked some pretty crazy hours. Most times he was gone before I woke up for the day and wouldn’t get back until around dinner time…at which point we’d eat and soon after dad would go to bed. Other times he would be working these freaky arsed graveyard shift hours where he would be gone before I got home from school and would be asleep by the time I woke up for the day. Though I remember a lot of mornings waking up to my dad covering me up in a blanket that he’d warmed up in a dryer and getting to say a quick “hi” and “I love you” before he went to work. Now that I’m a little bit older and looking back, I realize that I didn’t get to spend the most amount of time with my dad, but the time that I did spend with him was amazing.
One of the best compliments that I’ve ever gotten as a basketball player was when one coach told me that I “played like I was 6’6”. For the record I’m only all of five feet and nine inches tall. When I was 17 and being told that I played tall, I thought it was the best thing ever! As you can tell, I loved the comment so much that it’s stuck with me.
Now what does my narcissistic memory have to do with the time I spent with my dad, you ask?
You see, my dad is 6’3 and is a big guy. He played basketball growing up and was a post player just like I play down in the post. My dad didn’t have sons, so as his semi-tall daughter, it was up to me to be just like my dad. I didn’t think like that when I was kid, my only thought was that I wanted to play just like my dad did in his hay day. I wanted so much to be just like my dad that I even wore his basketball number, 15, all through high school. So not only did he teach me how to play hard as a basketball player, but he also taught me how to play big. I’m competitive so whenever my dad and I would play one-on-one or he would teach me how do something, I wanted to do it better, bigger and I wanted to win. And when you get used to getting beat up, knocked around, and running into a solid wall of dad who is built like mine playing against anyone else isn’t as bad.
During all of that time, my dad and I were having fun.
However, even though my dad come to a lot of my games and always made time to practice with me (Not just for basketball but for softball too!), he still worked a lot. He liked to relax and rest after a hard day’s work and I never blamed him for resting when I wanted to do something else. In fact, my dad was, and still is, so awesome…he made watching TV into a great father/daughter activity. I can remember in high school when March Madness (the be all and end all of basketball tournaments – NCAA college finals!) would roll around and I’d get the rare night that it would be just me and dad watching the game. It was really rare and I remember this particular event happening only a handful of times where I would imitate my favorite post moves as we watched the game. Dad would be laying on his couch and I’d have my basketball in my hands and I’d see a particular move that I loved and I’d just have to try it then and there. So I’d get up and try it. Dad would correct me and I’d keep working on it until I had the general idea of the move learned and in my head. I would spend almost the entire game imitating these giants. I’d try to move just like they did, shoot like they did and get position like they did until I was doing my 5’9 version of what they were doing hundreds of miles away.
Then I’d take it into the gym the next day and practice it until it was perfected. After that I’d show it off to my dad at the first chance I got and he’d correct it again, and again…and again until I had it totally correct. I may not be a giant like the post players in the NCAA are, but at least I could do their moves! For me, this was fun. I loved it. Learning to play down in the post and learning to play basketball in general was one of those special times where I had 100% of my father’s attention. I learned, we had fun and I also wound up with some of my best childhood memories.
I mean who could forget a 6’3 holding a basketball as high in the air as he could while he used his other hand to hold onto his teenage daughters head and singing “Da na na na! Can’t touch this!” ?
My point to this whole entry is that even though my dad worked a lot and couldn’t spend endless hours doting on me (because you know…I also have a younger sister who I had to share the doting with), the time that I got to spend with him was fun, memorable and it helped me to become who I am today.
For those of you who know me, you know that I am definitely my fathers daughter. And for those of you who don’t me, you’ll have to believe me when I say that I am my father’s daughter. I’m proud to say that because my dad made almost every moment matter whether it was teaching me how to play basketball, watching TV or…showing off his impression MC Hammer.